Alternative Premier League team of the year: Top-six players excluded

Alternative Premier League team of the year: Top-six players excluded

We have had the PFA Premier League team of the year but how about those players who did not get the nod for the main prizes? Here, we pick an alternative line-up with two rules. No more than one player per club. No players from the top six…

Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham)

Fabianski has been a revelation following his switch from Swansea last summer and duly picked up West Ham’s player of the year award. The stats highlight his impact. Based on the quality of shots faced, he would have been expected to concede 12 more goals than he did – that’s as many goals saved as the next best two goalkeepers combined.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace)

With Ricardo Pereira at Leicester and Matt Doherty at Wolves, there are plenty of worthy candidates on the right side of defence, but as a pure defender, the Crystal Palace youngster is the outstanding candidate. Wan-Bissaka made more tackles than any other Premier League defender and was rarely beaten when one-on-one – the biggest clubs have taken note.

Shane Duffy (Brighton)

It was a difficult season for Brighton but the club’s player of the year award went to the Irish centre-back and it is easy to see why. Duffy repelled plenty that came his way – coming up with the third-most blocks and leading the way with far more headed clearances than anyone in the Premier League. He also scored more goals than any other defender too.

Fabian Schar (Newcastle)

This £3m summer signing proved a bargain for Newcastle and the stats suggest they would not have stayed up without him. His team won only one of the 16 Premier League matches in which Schar did not start and he came on in that one with the game goalless. Newcastle picked up 37 points from 22 games when he started, also scoring a stunner against Burnley.

Lucas Digne (Everton)

While Andrew Robertson was the competition’s best left-back, how about venturing across Stanley Park to find another exceptional candidate. The France international impressed in his debut Premier League season, creating 20 more chances than any other defender. Digne also scored four goals from outside the box – only Christian Eriksen managed more.

Ashley Westwood (Burnley)

Dwight McNeil added impetus and Tom Heaton’s recall also helped Burnley turn things around but Westwood was the club’s player of the year. Nobody created more chances than the hard-working midfielder and seven of those resulted directly in goals. He also ranked second in the Burnley squad for tackles and nobody won the ball back more in the final third.

Etienne Capoue (Watford)

Abdoulaye Doucoure attracts more attention because of his long-range shooting, but the dirty work in one of the Premier League’s best midfield partnerships was done by Capoue. A key figure in Watford’s fine season, this man ranks among the top 10 tacklers in the division and was picked ahead of a number of strong candidates as the club’s player of the year.

Joao Moutinho (Wolves)

The quality of Moutinho was a huge part of the Wolves success story this season. A player of obvious pedigree, he still managed to outperform expectations, making the most tackles, completing the most passes, creating the most chances and providing the most assists of any Wolves player. He even popped up with a fine goal to earn a draw at Old Trafford.

Nathan Redmond (Southampton)

Another man recognised by his club with both key awards, Redmond was a player reborn under Ralph Hasenhuttl. He scored six goals and provided four assists after the Austrian took over, but his underlying numbers were even better. Redmond ranked fourth for dribbles and only N’Golo Kante won the ball back more in the final third in this time.

Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth)

Fraser’s threat had long been apparent but this was the season in which the Bournemouth flyer made good on his potential. As well as scoring seven goals, only Eden Hazard provided more than the winger’s 14 assists. Nobody laid on more big chances for his team-mates than the Scot and he has been rewarded with the supporters’ player of the year award.


Related posts